I’ve been sharing my FAVORITE BOOKS of the Year here on the blog since 2010. I love making my lists of favorites and reflecting back on those books and how they made me feel while reading them.
In years past, I’ve had lists of favorite fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books. This year, I am condensing them into one list of my Top Ten Books I Read in 2020. I only gave 21 books five-star ratings this year. Which is still a pretty good percentage of the 80 books I read. This number doesn’t count all the children’s books I read this year. Two children’s books even made my Top Ten list.
I also love looking at the specific stats from the year.
Total Books Read: 166 Books
Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction 73 books & Children’s 93 books
When I look at what I consider as a book I read in 2020 on my Goodreads, I count children’s books that were at least 100 pages in length, basically chapter books. So, when looking at my Goodreads stats, I read 80 books that I would consider a full book. Not every book I read is listed in Goodreads, so that is when I look to my personal book journal where I keep track of everything I read.
Some other fun stats from my reading year:
Books read for review: 114
Books read for my own enjoyment: 52 (This impressed me as I really tried to do more of this type of reading this year. It shows I read one book a week for my own enjoyment!
Fiction books read: 83
Non-Fiction books read: 83 This made me laugh. I didn’t even try to get them to match up. Last year I read 71 fiction and 70 non-fiction, so I guess I keep it pretty close to the same.
Physical copies: 125 I prefer physical copies, but I am really loving listening to audiobooks as well. In fact, one of my favorite books this year was on audio.
I had 21, 5-Star adult reads this year, which is actually pretty accurate if maybe a bit low since I read more books this year.
My most-read month was May with 20 books and April and June both came in second place with 18. This was high shutdown time and makes total sense that I would have the most books read during this time.
I read 8 books off of my own shelf. I was hoping to read 12, but 8 is better than none. I also read 27 library copies which makes me happy.
The biggest surprise to me in regards to my stats was that I only read 11 Historical Fiction books. With this being my favorite genre, this number surprised me. But I read a LOT more YA than I usually do for school, so that could have affected my historical fiction reading.
I read 40 Male Authors, 126 Female Authors, and 18 Diverse Authors. I know I should be reading more diverse authors and am hoping to be more careful about my reading choices and look for opportunities to read from diverse authors. Exposing myself and learning about cultures different from mine is one of my favorites things about reading.
I’m excited to see what 2021 brings in regards to my reading life, but if history has any say, it will look pretty similar to previous years as they don’t vary much except for a few more books read in total.
On to my Favorite Books of 2020:
Not all of my favorites were published in 2020. Sometimes, I don’t get to the really great books until later due to my ever-growing to-read pile. I do feel like this year’s list is a pretty good representation of what I like to read throughout the year. In fact, all of my fiction favorites are ones I chose to read for my own enjoyment and two of them were book club choices. So, I think this shows that I clearly know what types of novels I like to read.
TOP TEN BOOKS FROM 2020
These fiction books were ones I absolutely loved and am STILL thinking about months (and weeks) after reading them. Four of them would be considered historical fiction, which has always been my favorite, but three of them have a dual time-period of the past and the present which I also love.
AMERICAN DIRT by Jeanine Cummins – January 21, 2020
I couldn’t stop thinking about this one. I just finished it in December. It was anxiety-producing in that I was so nervous about the mom and her son, I would have to peak ahead a bit just to make sure they made it through the next obstacle. I won’t spoil the ending, but say that I was mostly satisfied, but left wanting more. There has been a lot of controversy around this book, but for me, it is a work of fiction and one that brings the journey of immigration to light no matter how you feel about it.
RECIPE FOR A PERFECT LIFE by Karma Brown – December 31, 2019
I think this one has been mostly under the radar. It’s a dual-timeline story of a woman in the present-day and the woman who lived in the same house generations before in the 1950s. I love anything set in the 1950s and this one was such a great read. Click HERE to read my review. The paperback of this one comes out on February 2nd. Click HERE to preorder!
THE STATIONARY SHOP by Marjan Kamali – June 18, 2019
First of all, the cover is gorgeous and I wanted to keep the copy but I also wanted to make sure others have the chance to read it as well, so I gave my copy to our library. This dual timeline story is set in Iran in the 1950s and in the present day. I didn’t even think about this being another novel in the 1950s. But, this love story is quite an emotional ride and I thought it was absolutely beautiful. See my review, HERE.
THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK by Kim Michele Richardson – May 7, 2019
Any books about books are usually a win for me. This is not a happy story at all and it ripped me apart. But, I loved it. Set during the 1930s in the Appalachian Mountains, Cussy is a blue person who delivers books to people in the mountains. I learned so much about those who suffered from extreme poverty and yet still were happy to have anything at all to read. It was a story that had so much sadness, but the minutes of joy when Cussy dropped off books to her neighbors were the icing on the cake. See my review, HERE.
THE GOWN by Jennifer Robson – December 31, 2018
This was an audiobook choice and I loved every second of listening. After listening through a library hold, I had to go out and buy a physical copy. This dual timeline is set in the late 1940s in England and in the present day. The main part of the story is about the women who were selected to do the embroidery for the Queen’s wedding dress. The story of these women’s lives and the connection to the present day were so well done. This was my first Jennifer Robson and I definitely want to read more of her books. She has a brand new one publishing tomorrow, OUR DARKEST NIGHT. See my review of THE GOWN, HERE.
THE LAZY GENIUS WAY – Kendra Adachi – August 11, 2020
Even though I was fortunate to receive this as an eBook for review, I also purchased my own physical copy. Kendra Adachi’s advice on her website, on social media, and on her weekly podcast is quite often, just what I need to hear. Her practical approach to being “a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t” make it easy for those of us frequently juggling a lot of things in life. Check out my review, HERE.
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU PEARS by Jeannie Gaffigan – October 1, 2019
When Jeannie Gaffigan shared that she was recovering from a brain tumor, I remember being completely shocked and amazed by her recovery. We are huge fans of her husband, Jim Gaffigan, the comedian. When I found out she had written a book about her experience, I knew I wanted to read it and I loved it. She writes with wit and humor without holding back on the real nitty-gritty aspects of life after a brain tumor. Her inspiring story is a must-read. See my review, HERE.
DON’T OVERTHINK IT by Anne Bogel – March 3, 2020
I also would have read this one regardless, but I was lucky to be part of the launch team for this one. In fact, I purchased some copies as gifts this year. Anne Bogel of THE MODERN MRS. DARCY website and WHAT SHOULD I READ NEXT podcast is someone I highly respect. I am a chronic overthinker and found her book spoke to me on so many levels. I’ve noticed that her tips on changing my thinking have helped me immensely and in other ways, I still have a lot to work on. See my review, HERE.
Since a good chunk of my reading involves children’s books for review, I wanted to include two of my favorite children’s books. Of course, there were so many that I loved, but these two stuck with me and left me so happy after reading them.
ROSIE STRONGER THAN STEEL by Lindsay Ward – April 1, 2020
Lindsay Ward has made my favorites list before. She is a prolific children’s author with silly and inspiring stories and amazing illustrations. I loved this one so much because it is a WWII story about a tractor named Rosies that is thrilled to help and be a part of making life better for others. I loved the mix of history lesson, women workers during the war, and farming in this story for young kids. See my review, HERE.
THE SNOW DANCER by Addie Boswell – December 1, 2020
This one was just shared in December and yet I found it to be such a lovely story. It is one our daughter would have loved reading again and again when she was little. A young girl (a dancer) wakes up to a beautifully quiet snow day. As she makes the first tracks in the snow, she creates a beautiful path. Soon other children wake up and make their way to the park to enjoy the snow and the joy of a snow day is shared among many kids at the park. In this COVID world, where even our school district, like many others, has abandoned snow days in exchange for still having virtual school, there is some magic in a snow day and I was reminded how delightful those days were when our children were young. See my review, HERE.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek made my 2019 favorites list. I find myself recommending it often! Such an intriguing story with both the Pack Horse Librarians and Cussy’s health condition